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Posted April 18, 2012
Get to the heart of what the bible means by "gospel"
Sometime back I had this issue, the bible says that Jesus "preached the gospel" and that the disciples "preached the gospel," but it never spelled out exactly what they were saying. And for sometime the modern church in America has over laid that word "gospel" with soteriology. In other words, we say that the "gospel" is about the saving grace of the cross. But while the gospel (euangelion) contains the work of the cross, that is not all that it is. You can not define the gospel simply by explaining the cross. For the simple explanation that ... the cross had not happened when Jesus and his disciples were preaching.
Jesus did not preach, "believe that I will die on the cross and resurrect for your sins." That could not have been the "gospel" that he preached. And yet, if you ask a Christian today what the gospel is, you will hear some rendition of the atonement of the cross.
Now, I have no problem with saying that the cross is good news or that salvation is now apart of the modern telling of the gospel. But before we get to modernity, I think we should understand WHY the story of Jesus is good news.
Today, people can explain salvation and the cross without ever once mentioning the Old Testament. We ask the new to the faith to "confess Christ as Lord," without ever telling them what that means or why it's important.
Scot McKnight in his new book The King Jesus Gospel writes, "one reason why so many Christians today don't know the Old Testament is because their gospel doesn't even need it." but "the gospel of the New Testament cannot be reduced to the plan of salvation."
Scot McKnight is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University. He is the author of The Jesus Creed which won the Christianity Today book award for 2004 in the area of Christian living. McKnight's blog, Jesus Creed, has been a popular site for Evangelicals to discuss various theologies.
His new book seeks to unlock the BIG QUESTION: what is the gospel? Scot believes that Christianity is stuck in a salvation culture, but that we need to transition and find our true home in a "gospel culture."
McKnight is a smart writer who writes a great book. This book is for anyone seeking to re-learn the biblical concept of gospel and for anyone who wants to communicate a full gospel story to the world. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Zondervan for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.
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Posted September 7, 2011
A Must Read for All Who Teach or Preach the Bible
Every time I read a new book by Scot McKnight, my wife tells me I say the same thing, "I think this is the most important book he's written." After finishing his newest book, "The King Jesus Gospel", I really believe that to be true for this book.
His argument is essentially that we've replaced the Biblical Gospel with instead a Plan of Salvation, and while the Gospel will indeed lead to salvation, it is far bigger than just that. McKnight defines the Gospel this way, "It is the Story of Israel that comes to completion in the saving Story of Jesus, who is Messiah of Israel, Lord over all, and the Davidic Savior."
For the past few years, I have tried to understand how the methodology of the church has created a culture of consumerism and shallowness. What Scot does with this book is develops theologically how we have gotten to that place - simply by replacing the Gospel with the Plan of Salvation.
This is the first theological book in a long time that I've had a hard time putting down. I found myself reading passages out loud to Allison regularly, scribbling notes and at times just wanting to shout, "yes" as I was reading it. I'd be willing to say that anyone who teaches or preaches the Bible regularly needs to read it. It's that important.
Here's a few of the quotes I underlined:
"Most of evangelism today is obsessed with getting someone to make a decision; the apostles, however, were obsessed with making disciples"
".the gospel itself, strictly speaking, is the narrative proclamation of King Jesus"
".in those early apostolic sermons, we see the whole life of Jesus. In fact, if they gave an emphasis to one dimension of the life of Jesus, it was the resurrection. The apostolic gospel could not have been signified or sketched with a crucifix. That gospel wanted expression as an empty cross because of the empty tomb."
"The gospeling of the apostles in the book of Acts is bold declaration that leads to a summons while much of evangelism today is crafty persuasion."
"When we reduce the gospel to only personal salvation, as soterians are tempted to do, we tear the fabric out of the Story of the Bible and we cease even needing the Bible"
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Posted September 20, 2011
A Great Read for All Christians!
The following is a condensed version of the review that was posted on my Wordpress blog, "all loved":Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
You'd think if there was any one thing that Christians of all theological stripes could agree upon, it would be the Gospel. The central message about Jesus that our spiritual ancestors believed was so powerful, they were willing to die to preach it to others.
Surprisingly, we don't.
Some people think it's about going to heaven after you die, while others have equated the Bible's chief message with being justified by God. Within this setting of doctrinal confusion, Scot McKnight has written The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited, a popular-level work designed to look at both Scriptural evidence and instances from church history to argue that the Gospel is about Jesus as the saving Lord whose story completes the long-running narrative of Israel.
So, what is the Gospel?
According to McKnight, it is this: the Story of Jesus serving as the completion of the Story of Israel. This is the Gospel message itself. The salvation of people is the result of this message being preached to them. In the author's own words:
". the gospel for the apostle Paul is the salvation-unleashing Story of Jesus, Messiah-Lord-Son, that brings to completion the Story of Israel as found in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. To 'gospel' is to declare this story, and it is a story that saves people from their sins. That story is the only framing story if we want to be apostolic in how we present the gospel." (pg. 61)
McKnight distinguishes between the Story of Jesus and the salvation that results from this story being told. He doesn't deemphasize salvation or people's need for it, but he does argue that the Gospel is about a lot more than how people can get right with God. As important as that is, McKnight believes that reconciliation between the mortal and Divine is the result of the Story of Jesus.
McKnight draws on the sermons of Jesus, Peter, Paul, the writings of post-apostle Christian leaders, and the creeds to make his case that the early church had a "gospel" culture before the Reformation inadvertently produced a "salvation" one through its emphases on justification and original sin. The final chapters bring this material into more practical areas, such as how to evangelize with this understanding of the Gospel in mind.
This is a fantastic book. For a more extensive review, check out my blog. I hope I've encouraged you to pick up a copy for yourself.
Posted May 31, 2012
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Posted March 11, 2013
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